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No. 28: Jul-Aug 1983

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Ball Lightning With Bizarre Structure

An older case of ball lightning with special features has just surfaced.

"It happened in the afternoon in 1924. There came a large ball of fire -- or so it looked -- but the thing was that it had chains all the way round. It lasted about five minutes, then all the chains clashed together with a terrific bang; then we had a terrible thunderstorm which lasted quite a long time.' In a second let ter Mrs. Revell drew the ball lightning as a red globe with 16 rays, composed of links like a chain, issuing from it; the rays were rather longer than the diameter of the ball. She said, 'You asked the size. From the ground it looked about four to five yards across, which would be larger than that in the sky. The chains opened from the top to the bottom with a terrific bang."

(Rowe, Michael W.; "Unusual Ball Lightning," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 8:125, 1983.)

Reference. Additional examples of ball lightning with internal structure are available in our Catalog: Lightning, Auroras. This volume is described here.

From Science Frontiers #28, JUL-AUG 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987